Why are bullies attractive?

“Tough guys have always had their hangers on. And no, they don’t have to be physically tough. They just have throw their weight around and generally act like a bully. That’s what Trump does so well. The real question for me is … WHY is that attractive to so many people?”

I think it is three-fold, based on evolutionary psychology, ignorant fear and social psychology.

Firstly, evolutionary psychology: the herd mentality. Go where the majority goes, or seems to be heading. Some head off for a different corner of the field, follow them because they must have seen something worth having. And if you really want to benefit from what is there, run and get there first, go further than the others, become an extremist.

Second, superstition and religion. If we try harder than anyone else to follow the will of the god(s) or not upset the demons / volcano / weather then we will have better harvests and more good luck and less disease. So we look to the priests and wise men for ideas. And we sacrifice our children, flagellate ourselves or hand over our possessions to appease the gods through the priests. So when a leader implies they have divine wisdom, we so want that to come true, we will do anything.

Third we see the person is a competent leader because they have followers. People like following winners because it makes them feel safe, that will be on the winning side at the end. It is easier than making decisions for themselves. So we form gangs and tribes and armies and political parties. Hence people switch their political allegiance to best suit themselves. Even politicians who swear they are totally aligned to one set of values, will change sides if it suits their career. Alliances change between nations: so leaders will send their people to fight and die to support X against Y, then later send them to die for Y against X. So who was right, X or Y, or is it down to the leader’s whims and because they have power? So we will go and kill and die just because someone says so, and without really knowing why.

We think we’re clever. We’re just stupid sheep who think we’re smart.

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